Controversial surgeon Charlie Teo tells 'sexualised jokes’
Renowned and controversial neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo has taken aim at his medical colleagues, accusing them of trying to destroy him but also admitting to telling "sexualised" jokes.
Speaking at his foundation's Brain Cancer Research Ball in Perth on Saturday night, Dr Teo said people had been trying to ruin him "for years".
"I'm sure you know my history, the history is that my colleagues are trying to destroy me and my reputation for years now," he said, according to The West Australian.
"They talk about the fact that I … am a sexual predator. Now, I do tell sexualised jokes. I will be the first to admit it, I swear like a trooper."
Dr Teo, 61, was the subject of a Sydney Morning Herald investigation in September where a number of his colleagues accused him of inappropriate conduct and being uncomfortable due to his conversations about sex.
In his emotional speech, Dr Teo told the crowd his lawyers had advised him against commenting on the allegations but assured them he had "never had a complaint".
"I am a bit old-fashioned, I can tell some jokes but I've never had a complaint. I certainly wouldn't use my power or my authority to persuade someone for sex," he said.
Dr Teo hit back at the allegations in early September, saying he was "incredibly disappointed".
The article, published in The Sydney Morning Herald on September 5, contained quotes from anonymous colleagues describing a number of inappropriate actions and gestures by Dr Teo while in surgery and at his home.
It also quoted unnamed neurosurgeons who accused Dr Teo of overcharging patients, reiterating a number of criticisms levelled earlier this year.
"I am incredibly surprised and tremendously disappointed by the article published today in The Sydney Morning Herald," he said in a statement on his personal website in September.
"Particularly disturbing was the evident lack of legitimate research, the use of nameless sources, the staggering number of inaccuracies and ultimate failure to provide a fair and balanced story.
"I am not the first person to be subjected to this type of reporting and I will not be the last. I am immensely proud of everything that I have achieved professionally as a surgeon in Australia and internationally and of the work of the Charlie Teo Foundation.
"I recognise that none of this would have been possible without the support of my amazing team, many of whom who have been with me for many years."
And in June, Dr Teo found himself in another firestorm after a professor of surgery lashed the 61-year-old for the amount he charges.
University of Sydney professor of surgery Henry Woo wrote on Twitter that "something is seriously wrong if a terminally ill girl with a brain tumour has to raise $130,000 to have surgery Dr Charlie Teo has offered to do for $60-80,000".
Dr Woo argued that "if it was valid surgery, it could/should be performed in the public system under Medicare". Dr Teo hit back at the criticisms, saying he wasn't allowed to operate in public hospitals and accusing the medical establishment of "gunning" for him.
Not long after, Dr Teo revealed he was facing possible disciplinary action after multiple complaints were submitted to the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, which sent him a letter warning him against making "comments which may undermine confidence in colleagues' directive decisions relating to patients".
"They will eventually get me," Dr Teo told a medical conference in Canberra where he read out the letter.
"A lot of good people have gone down to the system. I used to say just take the high road and the high road will always keep you protected, but I really don't think that is true."
- with Frank Chung